Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of major depression. Individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) have a high prevalence of major depression and low levels of BDNF. We therefore explored whether the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism is associated with co-morbid depression and whether depression affects the serum levels of BDNF in a Han Chinese subjects with T2DM.
A Total of 296 T2DM patients and 70 healthy volunteers (Health control, HC group) were recruited in this study. T2DM patients were divided into two subgroups: depressive diabetes group (DDM group, n = 64) and non-depressive diabetes group (NDDM group, n = 232), according to the presence or the absence of depression assessed by Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Val66Met polymorphism was detected by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis (PCR-RFLP). Serum BDNF levels were measured by ELISA kit.
In this study, 21.6% (64/296) patients with T2DM had depression. The BDNF Val66Met genotype distributions were statistically different among the three groups (χ2 = 7.39, p < 0.05). DDM group carried the highest frequencies of Met allele (53.9%) compared to HC group (39.3%) and NDDM group (38.8%). Subjects with Met/Met had lowest serum BDNF levels (76.59 ± 5.12 pg/ml, F = 7.39, p < 0.05) compared to subjects with Val/Met (79.04 ± 5.19 pg/ml) and Val/Val (83.83 ± 3.97 pg/ml). Within T2DM group, it was also observed that the serum BDNF levels in DDM group were significantly lower than those in NDDM group (76.67 ± 5.35 vs. 79.84 ± 3.97 pg/ml, p < 0.05). In type 2 diabetes subjects, BDNF serum levels were significant correlations with genotypes (r = -0.346, p < 0.01), depression scores (r = -0.486, p < 0.01) and HbA1c (r = -0.168, p < 0.05). After adjustment for gender, HbA1c, BMI and numbers of complications, BDNF Val/Met genotype distributions (OR = 2.105, p < 0.05) and decreased serum BDNF levels (OR = 0.835, p < 0.01) were independently associated with depression in T2DM.
The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism might be implicated in the pathogenesis of depression in T2DM by decreasing serum BDNF levels in Han Chinese Subjects.